Thursday, 19 January 2017

Chamonix Off Piste Coaching

Last week I was based in Chamonix, running 5 days of off piste coaching for Tim, John and Phil. With snow very thin on the ground (or granite) in Chamonix we played the 'lateral thinking' cards and managed to find some reasonable snow to ski on every day with a short drive...

The guys all made great progress throughout the week, with some big changes put in place:

Bonus bumper powder day on the Friday to reward the gang for their perseverance!

Overall conditions remain thin, despite the big fall of snow over the weekend we are effectively now running on a mid-December style snowpack - lots more needed to bring us back towards normal - areas with grass or glacier underneath will still be a good bet until the next snowfall!

Shapes of things to come...

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Its all in the mind(set) - with bonus update!

Last night someone cancelled a day of coaching/guiding we had booked for later this week as 'they had been up and there was obviously nothing worthwhile to ski'.

This attitude seems to be relatively common but misses one big point which is: it is a very rare day (or set of circumstances) that something worthwhile cannot be achieved with the day, we may simply have to adjust our expectations. Yes there is not a whole lot of off-piste options available at the moment in many places, but these are exactly the days when we can pull in a strong technical or tactical focus, and with no 'extraneous distractions' of powder or similar make some real lasting changes in our skiing. One of my best sessions ever happened on a rainy day in Courchevel when I had to cajole the clients out of their hotel on the basis of 'we will ski until we are too wet then call it a day'... Having set off out at 9:20, the last client finally called it quits at 1:30pm, and we had had a brilliant session lapping one button lift and one red run and doing some really good skiing! Possibly not as much fun as skiing powder on a blue sky day, but definitely worthwhile (as backed up by many rebookings from that same group of clients).

I have just finished 2 days coaching an Aspirant Mountain Guide up at the Grands Montets where conditions are the 'bony-est' I have ever seen - super-low tide, but over 2 days John made some lasting changes, and the challenging conditions were perfect for highlighting what was and wasn't working:

** Update 5 Jan 2017 **

Further to the thoughts above today I was running a day of CPD coaching two British Mountain Guides. They were making the drive over from Chamonix for the day, and we were working on a plan of making the best of whatever conditions threw at us... and as it happened it was rather good: